Houston: “We Have a Problem”

Photo Courtesy: US Department of Defense

The Worst Flood in 1,000 Years Drowns East Texas, Houston Devastated

Collin Anderson/News Editor

A little over a week ago, Hurricane Harvey decimated areas in both Texas and Louisiana. The storm is believed to be the cause of at least 47 deaths and leaving roughly 43,000 people housed in shelters. Harvey unleashed an unbelievable 24.5 trillion gallons of water.

For comparison, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina delivered 6.5 trillion gallons of water in New Orleans. Mont Belvieu, Tex. recorded an astonishing 51.88 inches of rainfall. According to the Washington Post, that is the highest rainfall total in any storm in the history of the United States.

Hurricane Harvey has been classified as a 1-in-1,000-year flood. The Chicago Tribune reports that a 1,000-year flood event, as
its name implies, is exceptionally rare. It signifies just a 0.1 percent chance of such an event happening in any given year.

Photo Courtesy: NASA. Satellite Image of Hurricane Harvey over Texas

Houston is the home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). Because JSC houses mission control for the International Space Station, all non-essential personnel were told to leave before Harvey’s arrival.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) arrived in Houston earlier this past summer and is undergoing cryogenic testing in the famed vacuum-chamber, Chamber A; the same chamber in which Apollo spacecraft were tested. Throughout the storm, the JWST and its personnel pushed through and continued testing.

The telescope and the vacuum chamber remained undamaged despite the heavy rain and strong winds.

President Trump has asked Congress for about $7.8 billion for recovery efforts. Texas Governor Greg Abbott believes that the state may need along the lines of $125 billion in total aid. A flood event this catastrophic has never been recorded. At least 30 inches of rain fell over 11,000 square miles, an area equivalent to the size of the state of Maryland.

With the Embry-Riddle community having about 2,575 students who have homes and families in the storm affected regions, it is important for all of us to be supportive of each other in times of distress.

In an interview with The Avion Newspaper, student Eric Walterscheid, a native of Houston, said, “My friends and former teachers have sustained house damage, and it is unfortunate.”

To quantify just how much water 24.5 trillion gallons is, to fill a cube with that volume, each side would need to be roughly 2.8 miles in length. For Texas, the hard part is yet to come.

As the water recedes, people will slowly go back to their homes and begin the long process of reconstruction.

The effects of this storm will be felt for years, if not decades. That being said, Walterscheid added, “We are Houstonians, and we will carry on.

We will rebuild.”

Jaclyn Wiley/The Avion Newspaper. Bar graph showcasing the estimated damage in US Dollars caused by Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina and Harvey